Darley Stable’s Etched made his 2010 debut a winning one, drawing off to a one-length score in the $75,000 Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Etched covered the mile and a sixteenth over the sloppy main track in 1:45 and returned $3.20 and $2.10 as the odds-on choice in the field of four colts and geldings. Pacesetter Chirac held well for second, completing the $7.60 exacta and paying $2.60 to place. It was another 5 ¼ lengths back to Sir Whimsey who was 4 ¼ lengths ahead of Secret Getaway.
“I knew I had the leader [Chirac] anytime I wanted,” said winning rider Alan Garcia. “I was worried about Sir Whimsey coming after us, but at the quarter pole I looked back and he wasn’t coming. He’s come back great. I was real impressed with him.”
The Formal Gold scratched down to four runners with the defection of Primary Witness, but the quartet certainly had more than enough back-class to think this was a graded event. The winner, who has not raced since last November, captured the 2009 Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup over the slop. The runner-up took the 2009 Grade 3 Iselin over an off going, while the third-place finisher won the 2008 Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.
Sunday’s victory was the sixth in eight starts for Etched, a 5-year-old by Forestry from the Unbridled’s Song mare Unbridled Elaine, winner of the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and that year’s running of the Monmouth Oaks. Etched has now earned $407,586.